CHAMPCAR/CART: Toronto: RSPORTS preview

Wilson and Tagliani in Search of Top Results in Toronto EAST LANSING, Michigan -- After beginning their three-race Canadian tour last weekend in Mont-Tremblant, QC, Canada, RSPORTS continues their grueling five races in six weeks schedule this...

Wilson and Tagliani in Search of Top Results in Toronto

EAST LANSING, Michigan -- After beginning their three-race Canadian tour last weekend in Mont-Tremblant, QC, Canada, RSPORTS continues their grueling five races in six weeks schedule this weekend in Toronto, Ontario, Canada in search for their first victory this season with two experienced drivers that have made their way to the podium in the past.

After a disappointing result at the Circuit Mont-Tremblant, the team gears up for another opportunity to have better results on Canadian soil. The team's fourth and eighth place finishes were not necessarily bad results, as they marked the fourth time in six races this season that the team had both cars in the top eight. That also ensured that both drivers, Justin Wilson and Alex Tagliani, remain in the top five in the 2007 championship standings. Also, with the Canadian team competition opening in Mont-Tremblant, the teammates Wilson and Tagliani round out the top three on the Canadian Triple Crown leaderboard with an average of 6.5.

The Grand Prix of Toronto has attracted more than 3.2 million race attendees over 21 years. This year's on-track line-up will see the Champ Car World Series as one of five different series running this weekend. The 1.755-mile temporary street course around Exhibition Place in downtown Toronto consists of 11 turns. The Champ Car could reach 190 mph on the Lake Shore Boulevard straight.

RSPORTS driver Wilson is the defending pole sitter, after capturing the title during his 2006 qualifying run. He recorded a qualifying time of 58.182 (108.590 mph) to secure the number one position on the front row. The Brit earned his first victory in Champ Car and at Toronto in 2005, and looks to return to victory lane this weekend to obtain his first win in 2007. Teammate Tagliani has stepped foot on the podium in two of eight appearances, finishing third in 2005 and second in 2001. He has come very close to finishing in the top three this season, but has fallen short, and looks for his first podium and/or win this weekend in his birth-country of Canada.

The weekend will kick-off on Friday, July 6 with a morning practice session, followed by the first round of qualifying at 1:15 p.m. ET. On Saturday the Champ Cars will head out for another practice session, before participating in the final round of qualifying at 1:15 p.m. The green flag for Sunday's Steelback Grand Prix of Toronto will drop at 1:00 p.m. The race can be seen live on ESPN with coverage beginning at 1:00 p.m. ET.

Fast Facts

*At the drop of the green flag for the Steelback Grand Prix of Toronto will mark the 124th start for Tagliani, driver of the #8 Tide@Wal-Mart Victory Lap Charity Program Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone who is in his eighth year of Champ Car competition.

*Tagliani currently sits fifth in the Champ Car 2007 championship standings with a total of 112 points. Tagliani sits only one point behind fourth place, and 33 points behind the leaders, which is a tie between Sebastien Bourdais and Robert Doornbos.

*Tagliani's best start of the season is fourth, which he has accomplished in three of six starts. He has started five of six events in the top ten. Also this season, Tagliani has three top-five finishes. His fourth-place result in Las Vegas marked his best finish. Tagliani is the only driver to finish in the top ten in every event this season.

*Tagliani has completed 603 out of a 687 possible laps during seven visits to Toronto. In 2003, Tagliani shot into second position behind the leader, Paul Tracy, early on in the race. He stayed in pursuit of the lead for 28 laps until contact with Bruno Junqueira resulted in a bent upright.

*Tagliani has gridded in the top ten in five of his seven starts in Toronto. His best start was fourth in 2003.

*Despite one DNF due to contact in 2003, Tagliani has finished in the top ten in six of seven Toronto runs. His best finish was second in 2001. He has earned two podium finished (2nd in 2001, 3rd in 2005) on the streets of Toronto.

*During his most previous visit, Tagliani started tenth and finished sixth. He recorded the fastest race lap in 2006.

*The Steelback Grand Prix of Toronto will mark the 47th start for Justin Wilson, who will be driving the #9 CDW Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone for RSPORTS Racing. This year marks the fourth year of competition for the British driver, who will be attempting to make his fourth start in Toronto this weekend.

*In six starts this season, Wilson has led a total of 66 laps, in which he has been in the lead five different times in three races (Houston, Portland, Mont-Tremblant).

*Wilson has started each race this season in the top eight or better. Wilson has finished in the top ten in five out of six races this season. Wilson's best start this season was first in Portland, following his best finish in 2007 of second.

*Wilson moved up one spot in the championship standings after his fifth place finish in Mont-Tremblant. He currently has a total of 113 points and is fourth in the 2007 standings. He is 18 points out of third.

*In three Toronto starts, Wilson has not started outside of the top five. His best start was in 2006 after earning the pole position, in 2005 he started third, 2004 he started fifth.

*Wilson earned the 2005 win in Toronto, after starting third on the grid. That victory marked his first win in the Champ Car World Series during his sophomore year.

*In three visits, Wilson has completed 253 out of a possible 256 laps. Wilson (driving the No. 34 car) finished 12th at the Grand Prix in 2004. The British driver was running in second place when, then third-place driver Canadian Paul Tracy, attempted a difficult passing move, hit and spun Wilson, sending him to the back of the field. The accident caused a flat tire on Wilson's Lola, resulting on him losing two laps before he could get the problem fixed. The British driver managed to stay in the race and finish in 12th place, but three laps down.

*Wilson has led the Champ Car field in two of the three races he has participated at in Toronto. In 2006, he led Laps 1 -- 10 after starting on the pole. In 2005, he led Laps 77 -- 86 to take the checkered flag for the win. He also recorded the fastest race lap during his victory run in 2005.

*The 2005 Grand Prix of Toronto was the first race for CDW as the primary sponsor of the #9 Champ Car driven by Wilson. That race also marked the first win for CDW, as Wilson took the victory in that event. Since then, the relationship between CDW and Wilson has grown, and CDW is now the full-time primary sponsor for the second year of the #9 RSPORTS Champ Car.

*RSPORTS has two crew members that our natives of the Toronto area. Alex Michie's hometown until he was 14 years-old was Woodslee. Then he moved to Petralia when he was 14-18 years-old. He attended college at Fanshawe majoring in Automotive tech. He is in charge of handling the shocks and body work of the #9 CDW car. Also, Tom Howatt, the car chief for the #8 Tide@Wal-Mart Victory Lap Charity Program car, is from Toronto. He attended Queens University.

Quotes

Alex Tagliani #8 Tide@Wal-Mart Victory Lap Charity Program Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone

"We did not have the results that were we hoping for in Mont-Tremblant, so I hope we can pick up our momentum from the beginning of the season and have a good result here in Toronto. It will be very important, not only for the team, but for our Canadian sponsors that are supporting me this year within the Tide@Wal-Mart Victory Lap Charity Program. Toronto is a very challenging course, which is what I love about it. It will be nice to return to a street-course venue, after running on a few road courses during our last couple of races. It is always exciting for me to race in Canada. As a driver, it is great to compete in front of an energetic crowd like the only the Toronto event draws. I look forward to the weekend and hopefully we can bring home a podium finish and move up in the championship standings. It is my goal to be in the top three when we leave the Canadian races, so it will be important for us to have a good result this weekend."

Justin Wilson #9 CDW Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone

"It is exciting to be back here in Toronto. I have always done well here and hope to continue that. The Toronto track has a mix of high and low speed corners with some elevation changes, which makes it an interesting street-course to run on. It is going to be good to be back racing on a street course, as all of our recent races and testing have been on permanent road courses. We were having a good run during our last street course race in Houston and then we had some bad luck. So, hopefully we will come away successful with the #9 CDW car in Toronto this weekend."

-credit: rocketsportsracing

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Justin Wilson , Bruno Junqueira , Alex Tagliani , Paul Tracy , Sébastien Bourdais , Robert Doornbos